Sunday, December 31, 2006

Bangkok Bombing Update

Earlier today, I posted about the New Year's Eve bombings in Bangkok. I opined that they were probably the work of Muslim separatists taking their campaign of terrorism from the South to the very center of the nation. However, I've just read in the New York Times that Thai national police doubt that insurgents from the South were responsible. They believe or say they believe, instead, that the bombings were linked to the political unrest that lingers in the wake of the recent coup, and one fact that supports their suspicion is that all of the bombs exploded in areas not frequented by foreigners.

Am I too quick to atttibute virtually all terrorist acts these days to Muslim terrorism? Has my admitted distaste if not hatred for a religious faith that has spawned so much violence and misery with relatively little condemnation from Muslim communities at large taken unhealthy hold of me?

Maybe, but I'd still be surprised, although I'd love to be, if those bombings had anything to do with the recent coup and not with Muslim terrorists. I suspect that the Thai police may be engaging in some wishful thinking or damage control to keep the tourists coming and tourist money flowing into the economy.

Bombs in Bangkok

I feared that it was only a matter of time until it happened, and now it has. Bombs have exploded in Bangkok, and I doubt that I'm jumping to unwarranted conclusions in suspecting that Muslim separatists have now expanded their bloody violence from the South to Thailand's geographical, population, and economic center in an effort to gain through force and terror what they will almost certainly never get--a separate Muslim fundamentalist nation.

But how many people will be maimed and killed, how many families destroyed, and how much fear, anxiety, and economic loss will plague that beautiful country and its people as a result of this awful, proliferating violence? Two people apparently died in Bangkok and twelve or more were injured when bombs exploded Sunday evening (Thailand time) near a popular momument, in a fresh food market, and at other places as people were preparing for New Year's Eve celebrations.

What's next? Shootings, more bombs, and beheadings in Bangkok and elsewhere that were previously confined to the South?

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Let the Healing Begin

I oppose the death penalty. I always have, and I probably always will. I oppose it on philosophical grounds and on more pragmatic ones. But the death penalty is usually carried out against "common people." They may be uncommon in their crimes, but they are "common" in terms of their station in life.

Yet, Saddam Hussein was the president of a prominent country when he was captured. He was tried, convicted, and executed for acts he committed as president of Iraq. Those acts caused death and suffering, both told and untold, for hundreds of thousands if not millions of human beings and brought physical, economic, social, and spiritual ruin to a once relatively prosperous nation.

Despite my general opposition to the death penalty, I confess that I do not mourn the hanging of Saddam Hussein. While I also do not feel happy over his death, I do feel a sense of closure and resulting relief that a man who did monstrous things that impacted his nation and the entire world in terrible ways has been irrevocably removed from the world stage and that perhaps, just perhaps, the healing of people's souls and the slow and arduous rebuilding of a nation can finally begin.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Why Mock?

Bob Godwin allowed one of his alter egos, "Cousin Dupree," to post today's Christmas message in his blog. In that message, he says, "I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bob for taking me in after Katrina and providing me with those three precious things that make anyone's life meaningful: something to do, something to look forward to, and someone to mock."

I believe that Bob's blog is brilliant, even when I disagree with or at least doubt much of what it says. But I've never understood why so much of it revolves around mocking those with whom he disagrees. I give him credit for not conducting most of his mockery in an overtly hateful or hostile manner, even though he's frequently championed the appropriateness of hostility and hatred against various people as well as ideologies and actions.

But why does he feel the need to mock at all, much less as much as he does? Does it elevate those who take pleasure, if not delight, in his mockery, or does it pander to their baser inclinations to make themselves feel better about themselves by degrading, demonizing, and marginalizing others? Does it lead those whom he mocks to see the error of their thinking and conduct, or does it further energize and intensify their predilections?

I believe that Bob is basically a good man. I believe that he genuinely wants to do his part to uplift people and leave the world a better place than it was when he entered it. So, why does he channel so much of his formidable cleverness into mockery, and what does he or anyone else really gain from it?

Dilbert Does Free Will

Well, actually, it's Scott Adams, the creator of the comic strip Dilbert, who "does" free will in his blog that a commenter on yesterday's entry kindly points out. It seems that Adams shares my disbelief in the concept and also my penchant for thinking and writing about it. Not everyone seems to like it. Yet, he follows his bliss, as do I, as best he can.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

More on Free Will

I've posted previous entries here about free will. Here is what I posted to a message board yesterday in reponse to someone asking if we have free will:

Most people will probably say that they believe in free will. But have they ever given serious thought to what it is? I've done some thinking about it over the years, and the more I think about it, the more convinced I become that it's an illusion. Why? Because it seems to me that free will means the capacity to choose otherwise. That is, if we look at any choice a person has made, we see that he could have made a different choice under the same exact circumstances and with the same conscious and unconscious motivations. I don't see how this can be the case.

A simplified example I've often used to illustrate this is as follows. Suppose it's a very hot day and you have a craving for ice cream when you happen upon an ice cream stand that offers only two flavors--chocolate and vanilla. You love chocolate ice cream and hate vanilla. You have no motivation not to fulfill your craving for ice cream or to forsake your love for chocolate and choose the vanilla ice cream you hate instead. It seems obvious to me that in this situation and with these motivations, you're going to choose chocolate ice cream and not vanilla, that there's no way you could choose otherwise under those circumstances, and, therefore, you are NOT free to chose or will otherwise.

To my way of thinking, every choice we make is a more or less complex variation of this scenario, and all our choices are equally unfree.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Word to the Wise

You've probably done this before. I know I have. I've left my car with the engine running while I ran into the house to grab something I've forgotten. Yesterday morning, my wife's uncle was warming up his vehicle to drive to work when he realized he'd left his cell phone in the house and dashed inside to retrieve it. When he went back outside less than a minute later, his vehicle was gone. Sacramento police responded quickly to his call and immediately began to seach for the stolen vehicle, but they still haven't found it.

Fortunately the vehicle stolen was not the family Camry but a creaky old Nissan Pathfinder that my uncle-in-law bought second-hand for $1500. Yet, he is not a rich man. He works very hard for a modest income that has to pay a lot of family expenses, and he put that old Nissan to good use. The loss was not insignificant.

So, a word to the wise. Don't leave your vehicle, no matter what it is, running unattended for even a moment in even the "safest" neighborhood, or you might very well never see it again.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Beacon in the Darkness

19-year-old Jennifer Ross died on an operating room table a week after being shot while resisting a robbery attempt on Christmas Eve night last year . On Saturday, her convicted killer, 26-year-old Michael Thorpe, cursed and flipped the bird at the judge who sentenced him to life in prison plus 40 years for the girl's murder. I don't believe in the death penalty, but I do believe that Thorpe deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison for his crime.

I don't know what caused Thorpe to commit his terrible crime or to brag about it afterward. But I'd like to think that his sentence may deter others from following in his footsteps and will, at the very least, prevent Thorpe himself from repeating his crime. Yet, even though I don't believe that Thorpe should ever be released from prison, I hope that he finds a way to redeem himself in prison and to help others do the same. His outburst in court would not seem to bode well for his chances of accomplishing this. But I'd like to believe that at the core of every human being lies the wondrous possibility of a quantum leap in personal transformation. I say "I'd like to believe" because I'm not sure I really do. I've been around too long and witnessed too much human violence and depravity to feel convinced that we all possess the magical capacity to rise above the baser aspects of our nature.

However, I believe without question that at least some of us are in touch with a profound and glorious wisdom and strength that virtually no hardship or injustice can steal from us. Jennifer Ross' mother, Coren, reflected this in her remarkable statement after the sentencing. Rather than lash out in hatred and bitterness against her daughther's killer, she opened her heart to pour out her grief over her and her family's loss: "We are broken, both individually and collectively," she said. "Rusty [Jennifer's father] will not walk Jennifer down the aisle at her wedding ... I will not caress her pregnant tummy." But she proceeded to speak of how her daughter's death has at least occasioned an impending deployment of surveillance cameras in busy areas that may discourage future crimes, and she dispelled the notion that race (her daughter was white while her killer and his accomplices were black) played a role in her daughter's murder or in the conduct and outcome of the trial by sagely observing, "Jennifer's murder galvanized and energized everyone who heard about it because it showcased two mentalities, one which still believes you must work for what you want, and one which believes that you can take what someone else has worked for."

Finally, Coren Ross displayed extraordinary compassion when she said of the mothers of her daugher's killers, "We mothers have a whole lot more in common than some people might expect. My heart just breaks for them." Previously, just before the trial, she had said, "I believe these young men to be victims as much as anything else. There is part of me that would say to them, 'I'm so sorry that your life brought you to this point.'"

I am awed and inspired by the beauty of this woman's unconditional love, wisdom, and compassion in the face of awful tragedy. May we find it in ourselves to follow her resplendent example through whatever "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" may befall us.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Having It Both Ways

Don’t ask me why, but I’ve been having a discussion on a message board about how the OT depicts God as a mass-murdering monster. The well-educated Catholic gentleman with whom I’ve been engaging in most of this discussion argues that this is only the OT God and not the NT one. I reply by asking him where the NT and Catholic Church assert that we are not to accept the OT stories in question as historical fact. He replies that this is beside his point that the NT does not portray God this way. I reply that if it and the Church do not refute the murderous acts of the OT God, then the NT and OT God are reasonably seen as one and the same God. He replies that I need to bone up on metaphorical interpretation of scripture. I reply by asking where the NT or Church teach that the OT stories in question should be interpreted only metaphorically rather than literally. I haven’t received an answer.

This points to a beef I have with Roman Catholicism. It seems to want to have things both ways. On the one hand, it counsels people to look for the metaphorical meaning of biblical stories that we find repugnant and reasonably doubt on a literal level. On the other hand, it never, so far as I’m aware, comes right out and claims that any of these stories are literally false. I surmise that this is because, if it did, it would be more difficult for it to maintain that literal biblical passages granting it the power it has over its followers and its authority to interpret biblical passages metaphorically can be taken seriously. So, like I said, the Church tries to have it both ways and hopes that nobody notices.

Most people seem not to notice, but some of us do.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Hopes and Prayers for the Missing Mountaineers

I don't know why Kelly James, Brian Hall, and Jerry Cooke tried to climb Oregon's Mt. Hood at such a perilous time of the year when weather forecasts undoubtedly predicted the hazardous conditions that were to follow. And, to be brutally honest, part of me thinks that no one should risk his life and well-being to find these men who are probably dead anyway from their own folly.

But the part of me that prefers the light of optimism and unconditional love to the darkness of pessimism and blame hopes and prays that these men will be found alive now that the weather has improved, that they and others will learn from their mistakes so that nothing like this ever happens again, and that no one is injured or killed in the search and recovery.

Beyond that, my heart goes out to the suffering families and friends of these men. May they soon find peace one way or another.

Friday, December 15, 2006

James Dobson's "Fib Factory"

Here are two letters by prominent scientists rebuking James Dobson for misrepresenting their research in his recent article in Time Magazine:

Dr. Dobson,

I was startled and disappointed to see my work referenced in the current Time Magazine piece in which you opined that social science, such as mine, supports your convictions opposing lesbian and gay parenthood.

I write now to insist that you not quote from my research in your media campaigns, personal or corporate, without previously securing my permission.

You cherry-picked a phrase to shore up highly (in my view) discriminatory purposes. This practice is condemned in real science, common though it may be in pseudo-science circles. There is nothing in my longitudinal research or any of my writings to support such conclusions. On page 134 of the book you cite in your piece, I wrote, "What we do know is that there is no reason for concern about the development or psychological competence of children living with gay fathers. It is love that binds relationships, not sex."

Kyle Pruett, M.D.
Yale School of Medicine

Dear Dr. Dobson:

I am writing to ask that you cease and desist from quoting my research in the future. I was mortified to learn that you had distorted my work this week in a guest column you wrote in Time Magazine. Not only did you take my research out of context, you did so without my knowledge to support discriminatory goals that I do not agree with. What you wrote was not truthful and I ask that you refrain from ever quoting me again and that you apologize for twisting my work.

From what I understand, this is not the first time you have manipulated research in pursuit of your goals. This practice is not in the best interest of scientific inquiry, nor does bearing false witness serve your purpose of furthering morality and strengthening the family.

Finally, there is nothing in my research that would lead you to draw the stated conclusions you did in the Time article. My work in no way suggests same-gender families are harmful to children or can't raise these children to be as healthy and well adjusted as those brought up in traditional households.

I trust that this will be the last time my work is cited by Focus on the Family.


Carol Gilligan, PhD, New York University, Professor

Here is the conclusion reached by Wayne Bensen, Executive Director of Truth Wins Out:

"Dobson’s group is a fib factory that should change its name to Focus on the Fallacies. This organization habitually lies and shamelessly mangles research to support its anti-gay agenda. Time Magazine should immediately withdrawal Dobson’s column because it is so riddled with scientific errors that it is essentially fiction."

Seems like a reasonable conclusion to me.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Afterthoughts About Wilber's Condition

I recently wrote that I was puzzled by the lack of detailed information released about the nature of Ken Wilber's medical condition immediately after he was admitted to the ICU. There has been some disclosure since then. From what I now gather, Ken is still hospitalized but recovering from seizures caused by medication he was taking for some other condition.

I agree with Joe Perez that Wilber has every right to decide how much information he wants to share with us about his health. In retrospect, I believe that I was wrong to imply previously that we had a right to more information before Ken was even able to consent to its disclosure, and I now believe that I-I did a rather good job of walking the fine line between keeping us totally in the dark and letting our concerns run wild on the one hand and telling us more than we were entitled to know without Ken's approval on the other. And now that Ken is apparently able to give consent, he has every right to disclose or hold back as much information as he wishes.

I will only say that I'm still concerned about him and that I have several questions about his health that I would love to have answered: Was he admitted to the hospital for seizures caused by a medication he was taking for another condition? If not, what was he admitted for, and what do doctors think caused his symptoms? If so, what medication was he taking and why was he taking it? If he can no longer take that medication, how will he be treated for the condition for which he was taking it? Will he be given another medication? If so, is it likely to work without soon or eventually causing the same side effects? In other words, what is Ken's prognosis?

I don't expect, much less foolishly demand, answers to these questions. They are just questions I have for which I, as a concerned member of the integral community, would like to see answers someday if Ken decides to provide them. I suspect that he will in time.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Superior Intelligence

Yesterday I watched a fascinating program in the Naked Science series about the possibility of human contact with extra-terrestrial intelligence. There's no compelling reason to believe that ET's have ever visited Earth, and some people take this as reason to believe that they don't exist. But if they do exist, why do we think they'd be able to come here in the extremely unlikely event that they knew about us or even want to come here, given the unfathomable vastness of space and the incomprehensibly large number of stars and planets that populate this awesome universe?

And if they did come here (either themselves or via robotic explorers, perhaps on a nanotechnological scale), would we ever be able to communicate with them? And if they simply reached out to us by some kind of interstellar communication, would we be able distinguish between it and astrophysical static, and, if so, could we even begin to decipher any messages it might contain? If we can scarcely understand the languages of other species here on Earth, how do we have a proverbial snowball's chance in hell of understanding the language of some alien race perhaps thousands of light years away and millions of years more advanced than us?

We might not be able to understand them, but some scientists believe that we might at least be able to estimate their intelligence by the sophistication of their language. How can we measure the complexity of a language we don't even understand? I'm not sophisticated enough to have understood the explanation too well (and, perhaps, my cat jumping up on the table while I ate played a role in my incomprehension), but it had something to do with measuring the number and size of discernible syntactical patterns in the signal.

The interesting thing is, if ET's used this same method for evaluating the intelligence of Earth species in order to direct their communications to the most intelligent among them, they probably wouldn't pick us. They'd pick the humpback whale. For if human language has a sophistication level of 9 and dolphins and chimpanzees are at level 4, some scientist has determined that humpback whales seem to be far above all of us. Does this mean that humpbacks are more intelligent than us and that Star Trek IV was prescient in its depiction of aliens communicating with humpbacks? I guess I wouldn't be too surprised if that were so, even though I wonder why, if humpbacks are so intelligent, they don't do a better job of evading their less intelligent human predators.

Yet, one of the most provocative possibilties raised by the program is that the real ET's are US in the sense that our microbial forebears may have been transplanted here from Mars or some other planet via space debris falling here and seeding this planet with life that evolved into us. I must admit that I'm not too impressed with this hypothesis. I guess it's OK if someone merely argues that this just happens to be how life came into existence here. On the other hand, if someone argues that this is the only way life could have developed here, I ask how life came into being on the other planet from which it found its way here. This is similar to the question I ask Christians who argue that God had to have made this universe because it couldn't exist by itself. I ask them how the God that had to have made this universe exits without needing to have been made by something else, and it by something else, and so on. I've never been fond of infinite regresses.

All in all, I watched an interesting program yesterday that still has me thinking cosmic thoughts instead of the usual mundane ones.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Worried About Wilber

I read this morning that, according to his personal assistant Colin, Ken Wilber was unconscious but stable in the ICU of a Denver hospital from an "extremely serious, but not catastrophically so" condition that a "whole team of wonderful doctors" was working to figure out and treat, and that Wilber's good friend Roger Walsh was flying in to be with him. Since then, I have been scanning the blogosphere and elsewhere without success for revealing updates on Wilber's condition.

Two things have struck me about these unfortunate events.

First, I'm puzzled over why there isn't more information available about Wilber's condition. I understand that the doctors are trying to get a handle on it, but why haven't details been released on what led up to Wilber's hospitalization? Did he suffer a fall? Was he ill (or more ill than usual here of late), and, if so, what were his symptoms? Was he found unconscious, or did he lapse into unconsciousness later on? What is his condition right now? Is he now conscious, or still unconscious? If he's conscious, is he lucid? What do doctors know or speculate right now?

Some might argue that no one's had time to write about this, but couldn't someone who's at the hospital call someone who has the time and means to write about it and give them the information we all want to know? Some might argue that this is personal and privileged information, but what is the point in holding it back from a vast, worldwide community of people who care as much about Ken as they do about their own families? If a family member of mine were unconscious in an ICU, I'd want to know as much as I could about what had happened and what was happening now. Wouldn't you? I'm struck--no dumstruck--by just how little information is available!

Second, nobody seems to be talking about what it would mean if Ken died or were permanently disabled mentally as well as physically. But it seems to me that if he is or was unconscious in an ICU, there is something pretty seriously wrong with him, and death or debility COULD result. I confess that I've been thinking a lot about this over the past few hours, and I'm talking about it now because I don't believe that thinking about it or even talking about it here is going to magically make it any more likely to happen than if I don't think and talk about it.

But what I believe it CAN do is get us freshly focused on what Wilber and integral philosophy means to us and what we as individuals and communities are willing to do, with or without Wilber's continuing contributions, to advance an integral understanding of the world and an integral life practice in the world.

I can't think of a better time to contemplate this than right now.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Doctor Buddha

Buddhism is neither pessimistic nor optimistic. If anything at all, it is realistic, for it takes a realistic view of life and of the world. It looks at things objectively. It does not falsely lull you into living in a fool's paradise, nor does it frighten and agonize you with all kinds of imaginary fears and sins. It tells you exactly and objectively what you are and what the world around you is, and shows you the way to perfect freedom, peace, tranquility and happiness. One physician may gravely exaggerate an illness and give up hope altogether. Another may ignorantly declare that there is no illness and that no treatment is necessary, thus deceiving the patient with false consolation. You may call the first one pessimistic and the second optimistic. Both are equally dangerous. But a third physician diagnoses the symptoms correctly, understands the cause and the nature of the illness, sees clearly that it can be cured and courageously administers a course of treatment, thus saving his patient. The Buddha is like the last physician. He is the wise and scientific doctor for the ills of the world.
--Walpola Rahula, What the Buddha Taught

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Goal of Vipassana

The goal of vipassana is to cultivate the mindful, non-reactive observation of bodily and mental processes so as to develop an increasing awareness--an awareness undistorted by our usual desires, fears and views of the true nature of these processes, that they are impermanent, that they are without self and therefore involve no suffering on our part until we learn to let go.It is through mindful observation of what is actually there that the delusion that makes us perceive what is impermanent and transient as permanent and lasting is gradually dispelled. Liberation consists in experiencing and understanding fully and clearly that everything is impermanent and seeing that there is quite literally nothing to worry about.

--Amadeus Sole-Leris, Tranquility & Insightfrom Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Worldwide Democracy?

If the leaders whom we are supposed to hate so much -- even the ones who are The Terrorists -- keep getting elected democratically, doesn't that negate the ostensible premise of our foreign policy -- that America-loving allies will magically spring up all over the world where there are democracies and they will help us fight The Terrorists?...Perhaps we can soon come to the realization that it may not be such a good idea for a country which is intensely disliked by much of the world's population on every continent to urge that leaders be chosen democratically, since, by definition, that will likely produce leaders who are hostile rather than friendly to the U.S.
--Glenn Greenwald

Greenwald makes an excellent point. This doesn't necessarily mean that we should try to please every nation with our foreign policy. But it does suggest that we can't, contrary to what some politicians and so-called pundits would have us believe, ultimately separate our national interests from the perceptions the peoples of other nations have of us, especially if we're going to promote democracy throughout the world. For it stands to reason, and recent events bear it out, that if we act in ways that the peoples of other nations resent and detest, they're going to democratically elect leaders who oppose us. Does this mean that we should abandon our principles and suck up to everyone so that they'll like us?

On the contrary. I'd like to suggest that what it REALLY means is that we should act in accordance with wholesome, higher principles that acknowledge that what's best for America is, in the long run, what's best for the entire world because we are all, increasingly and ultimately, one people and one world.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Friedman Update

In a previous entry, I presented Glenn Greenwald's criticism of Thomas Friedman and essentially agreed with it. However, I have since learned that Friedman apparently no longer supports our involvement in Iraq. For he wrote in his August 4, 2006 column: "Whether for Bush reasons or Arab reasons, democracy is not emerging in Iraq, and we can’t throw more good lives after good lives."

Some might say it's a case of too little too late. But I say better late than never.

Worst President Ever?

Historians are loath to predict the future. It is impossible to say with certainty how Bush will be ranked in, say, 2050. But somehow, in his first six years in office he has managed to combine the lapses of leadership, misguided policies and abuse of power of his failed predecessors. I think there is no alternative but to rank him as the worst president in U.S. history.
--Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton professor of history at Columbia University

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Tom Friedman Disease

Glenn Greenwald argues that the famous New York Times columnist Tom Friedman bears heavy responsibilty for "selling the [Iraqi] war to centrists and liberal 'hawks' and thereby creating 'consensus' support for Bush's war." But Greenwald goes even further and accuses Friedman of being "truly one of the most frivolous, dishonest, and morally bankrupt public intellectuals burdening this country" not just because he has steadfastly supported the war, but, more importantly, because he has supported it even when he knew that it was wrong.

Greenwald characterizes Friedman's position as follows:

(1) If the war is done the right way, great benefits can be achieved.
(2) If the war is done the wrong way, unimaginable disasters will result.
(3) The Bush administration is doing this war the wrong way, not the right way, on every level.

(4) Given all of that, I support the waging of this war.

Greenwald accuses others, including David Frum and John McCain, of the same "repugnant game." He represents the "logic" of McCain's position thusly:

(1) It is immoral to stay in Iraq if we don't send in more troops.
(2) We are not going to send in more troops.
(3) I oppose withdrawal and think we should stay in Iraq.

Greenberg argues that no politician or so-called pundit is likely to be taken seriously by the mainstream media and therefore the public unless he, at least initially, supported the war even if he now favors withdrawal from it. Chuck Hagel is one such person, and the Baker Commission is stocked with them. Greenberg says:

"It is not merely the case that having been pro-war doesn't count as a strike against anyone. That is accurate. But far worse, the opposite is also true. It is still the case in Establishment Washington that having been pro-war in the first place is a pre-requisite to being considered a "responsible, serious" foreign policy analyst. And having been anti-war from the start is the hallmark of someone unserious. The pro-war Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden are serious national security Democrats but Russ Feingold, Nancy Pelosi and Jack Murtha are the kind of laughable losers whom Democrats need to repudiate."

Greenberg argues that this is because:

"Establishment Washington really is not interested in how to end this horrendous and despicable debacle we unleashed in Iraq. They are not interested in how to maximize U.S. interests. They are only interested in how to find a way to bring this disaster to some sort of slow resolution that looks as though it is a respectable and decent outcome -- anything that makes it seem like it wasn't a horrendous mistake in the first place."

I believe that not everyone who opposed the war in the beginning or supports withdrawal now was or is motivated by a clear-eyed perception of the facts and by strong principles. Some may do so simply out of reflexive hatred for George Bush and the Republican Party. But it's as difficult for me, as it apparently is for Greenwald, to believe that those who supported the war in the beginning and, certainly, those who oppose withdrawal now could do so with open eyes and strong, commendable principles. How could anyone look at the facts and embrace decent principles and believe that the Bush administration would and will ever pursue the Iraqi war in a manner that won't bring the disaster to America and Iraq that it clearly has?

I applaud Greenwald for penetrating the verbal artifice of "public intellectuals" like Friedman to expose the twisted logic that underlies their support for the unsupportable, and I agree with him that those we should REALLY be listening to with the utmost respect are those who opposed the war from the very beginning for good, solid reasons.

(Cross-posted to Thoughts Chase Thoughts)